News

Pittsfield faces concern as shutdown looms for UTC plant

PITTSFIELD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Townspeople here are dealing with tough economic news as at this time next year, close to 300 jobs at United Technologies Corp will be lost.

UTC is a worldwide provider of security communication services. It does video surveillance and fire security for buildings around the world. Now the company says it will be closing its Pittsfield plant effectively eliminating all 295 jobs there.

Those jobs make the plant one of the town's largest employers. Officials in Pittsfield say they have been told by the company this closure is part of a worldwide plan to downsize. They said UTC is looking to lose 1.3 million square feet of manufacturing space across the globe in order to stay competitive.

Colby College sets the standard for bench celebrations

WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The Colby College men's basketball team has gone from an obscure Division III program to an internet sensation thanks to four lively reserves. 

Senior Jonathan Kalin, sophomores John Gallego, Michael Lognioff, and freshman Peter Marchetti have become the most recognizable members of the team thanks to their lively in-game celebrations.  Since posting their compilation from the 2013-14 season, more than 300,000 people have watched their YouTube clip with it reaching national platforms likes ESPN, NBC Sports, Fox News, and even international notoriety like sports blogs in Spain.    

It was a response to their coach's who criticized their lack of energy during an early season game. 

"I just kind of mentioned it briefly, pretty simple just sort of an idea of trying to again make sure that you know we're all working together," said head coach Damien Strahorn. 

Pittsfield plant announces 295 layoffs

PITTSFIELD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- UTC Fire & Security in Pittsfield informed both employees and the town they will be closing the plant by next year. Pittsfield Mayor Gary Jordan was informed by the company Tuesday morning that there would be 295 layoffs and the plant will be completely closed by March 2015. 

Spokesperson Ashley Barrie with UTC released this statement, "In an effort to reduce complexity and improve our ability to serve customers, Edwards plans to close its Pittsfield, Maine facility and move production to three existing facilities currently producing similar products. As we begin the reorganization process, we are committed to working closely with our employees to ensure the transition is handled as best possible. Ongoing meetings will outline options including consideration for available positions at other facilities and comprehensive severance benefits." 

Medicaid expansion passes, but needs more votes

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Legislature again spent hours today debating that controversial plan to expand Medicaid health insurance to 70,000 more people.

The House of Representatives debated the issue for more than three and a half hours, with lawmakers on both sides making impassioned comments about the need to help sick people, or the need to stop runaway spending.

Democrats have made Medicaid expansion their top priority, and say it's the only way to let tens of thousands of Mainers have easy access to health care.

But Republicans argue the state can't afford the added cost, and say many of those eligible for expansion could afford to buy insurance themselves on the subsidized insurance exchange.

The two sides disagree on nearly every aspect of the plan, including how many people would be covered and how much it would cost Maine taxpayers.

Brides shop showcase in Waterville

WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Hundreds of brides-to-be attended the 9th annual bridal show in Waterville on Sunday to plan out their wedding day. More than 50 vendors consisting of bridal shops, caterers and florists were at the event. 

Experts said planning a wedding is no easy task; from choosing a make up artist, to a baker, to the finding that 'perfect dress.' No matter the age, women find that to be the hardest item on the to-do list.

Except for 19-year-old, Lorayanna Tracywho can already paint a picture in her head of the dress she want to wear on her big day.

"Definitely not pink. I may go with a white or an ivory. Definitely strapless and definitely the fairy tale poofy, fun flirty type thing."  

Mother charged after Augusta girl wanders away during storm

AUGUSTA, Maine (NECN) -- A Maine mother is facing a criminal charge after police say her 4-year-old daughter wandered away from the house in a snowstorm.

Surveillance video from a convenience store in Augusta shows the little girl walking into the Augusta Qwik Mart store at around
6 p.m. Wednesday.

Police say the girl managed to walk half of a mile in the storm to the store on busy Western Ave. She told the clerk she wanted some ice cream.

When the clerk realized the child was alone, she called police and kept the girl behind the counter until officers arrived. 

"It's just fortunate that nothing happened to the little girl, so many horror stories out there, at least we did a good deed," store clerk Lori Vincent said.

Police said the mother didn't know her daughter had left the house. She told police she was busy and thought her daughter was in another part of the house. 

New tissue machines, jobs coming to Washington County mill

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- After two years of discussions between International Grand Investment Corporation and the LePage Administration, a $120 million investment will bring new jobs to Washington County.

The money will bring two new tissue machines to St. Croix Tissue in Baileyville. The project will result in the creation of up to 80 new jobs along with another 200-300 indirect jobs in the form of vendors and suppliers.

LePage says the investment is one that the state hasn't seen in decades in the pulp and paper industry.

The $120 million project is already underway. The first tissue machine has already been ordered and is scheduled to be up and running in the first quarter of 2015, with the second machine coming a year later.